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Discussion Starter #1
I have an 8 month old Aussie Shephered/Border Collie. Sweetest girl, really loving.

Last few weeks, she's become fairly indifferent towards dogs and only interested in toys/sticks when in the park. We noticed it was becoming a bit of a fixation so we stopped bringing anything to the park.

Today, she grabbed another dogs toy and was fixated on it. When the dog tried to play with her, our dog (for the first time) lost her mind and started a fight. I pulled her out by her harness and put her down on her side.

A) What can we do to limit her fixation and get her playing with dogs again? We've been taking her to the park since she was 12 weeks and socialized her.

B) Was my reaction to the fight right? To go in, without words and just grab her and put her down?
 

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No your reaction to the fight wasn't a good one. There's nothing at all to be gained from putting a dog on it's side or alpha rolling.

You cannot make a dog play with other dogs. Her toy drive took over. Rather than trying to force her to romp with other dogs why not take her somewhere else where you can practice frisbee, fetch, training, soccer, etc?

Resource guarding is addressed by Jean Donaldson in Mine!.
 

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No your reaction to the fight wasn't a good one. There's nothing at all to be gained from putting a dog on it's side or alpha rolling.

You cannot make a dog play with other dogs. Her toy drive took over. Rather than trying to force her to romp with other dogs why not take her somewhere else where you can practice frisbee, fetch, training, soccer, etc?

Resource guarding is addressed by Jean Donaldson in Mine!.
I was just checking out the reviews for this book on Amazon, and they indicate that this book only addresses dog-human resource guarding, and doesn't mention dog vs. dog issues. Is that right? Do you know of an alternative book that addresses resource guarding against other dogs?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was just checking out the reviews for this book on Amazon, and they indicate that this book only addresses dog-human resource guarding, and doesn't mention dog vs. dog issues. Is that right? Do you know of an alternative book that addresses resource guarding against other dogs?
Yeah, she has no issues with us taking her toys. Any other books?
 

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Have you tried to break her fixation? Is there anything she likes more than toys?? Sometimes when dogs get into it at work (at the shelter) we are able to distract at least one of them by squeaking a toy, making a loud noise etc... This only works sometimes, and only with some dogs. When it doesn't we lasso a leash around the aggressor and pull him out the gate and the two don't get put in the yard together anymore (though this doesn't stop the fixation). If you can't easily break the fixation, I would stop taking her to the park, since you can't stop other dog owners from bringing toys, and go somewhere else where you can play with her by yourself.
 

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The only thing she likes more are sticks. But when we introduce a stick, she becomes equally as fixated on that. I'm assuming it's not good to just switch the fixation to something else.

Is there any benefit to taking the toy out of her mouth, giving it to the other dog and making her sit and watch for several minutes. Let her go but leash her if she exhibits the same behaviour?
 

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Mine! covers more than human guarding!
Food, people, toys it covers pretty much every resource and they are all handled somewhat similarly anyway.
 

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Other posts have it exactly right. Remain calm during a dog fight, and wait for an opportunity to separate them. Do that calmly as well. Any yelling, yanking, or physical punishments will only aggravate the situation. It's a lot like people getting tense and pulling their dogs away when they see another dog, because they fear a bad reaction. This causes the dog to believe there is a threat, and ups the aggression. Don't kick yourself over it - it's counter-intuitive at first and I think we've all made mistakes in crisis situations.

I also have Aussies, and they have incredibly high prey drive. This is different than aggression as people usually think of it. It means that they will chase and bite most anything that moves fast, but this is not 'aggression', where they mean to do harm. Most like to play tug and will do it with gusto. Almost all of them love playing fetch. If you want to help soften the resource guarding, start by finding treats that she really loves, and trading a toy that she's playing with for the treat. Praise her and love on her for giving it up. After she finishes the treat, either give her another for continuing to leave the toy with you, or give the toy back. Your dog will be much more likely to give up toys or other things to you if she trusts that you're not just taking things from her to prove you can. I've worked this with my dogs, and just the other night, I had a cool demonstration that it worked. My oldest female saw a long jerky treat fall from my pocket. She grabbed it up and trotted off to lay on the couch. I totally missed it until I heard her chewing. Not sure what she had, I told her to drop it, and she spat the entire treat out at my feet without a moment's hesitation. I was so impressed, I gave the whole thing back to her (it was for her training anyway, and she'd just earned it).
 
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